June 10th 2021

OGSA Conference: Keynote by Eva Fleischer

Recognition of research achievement in the field of Social Justice & Care for Eva Fleischer.

Eva Fleischer Photo: © MCI
Eva Fleischer Photo: © MCI

Eva Fleischer, professor at the Department of Social Work and renowned expert in researching the connections between social justice, social policy and social work, gave the keynote lecture at this year's conference of the Austrian Society for Social Work (OGSA). The motto of this year's conference was "Time - a constitutive factor in social work". She spoke on the topic "Verfügte Zeit - intersectional approaches to time poverty and time prosperity".

Historically, the development goes from the perspective of material prosperity to the prosperity of time, but the individual availability of time seems to be strongly determined by social structural categories such as gender, class, responsibility for care, ethnicity/"race", dis/ability, age. Lifetime is subject to time regimes - educational time, professional time, time for care, recreational and relationship time, post-professional time are to be accommodated in the right order and to the right extent in a life. Various time regimes structure our time, our everyday life: working hours, the starting times of schools and kindergartens, opening hours of stores and authorities, intervals of public transport. The disposal of time is an instrument of power or a resource.

Social work is confronted with the issue of decreed time in different ways: In everyday professional life, professionals are subject to the aforementioned time structures and time regimes, but social workers are also actors in the disposal of the time of addressees and clients. The corona pandemic has shown and continues to show how differently the effects of policies and institutions have affected the time sovereignty of individuals. Homeschooling brought extreme external disposition over the time of parents, especially mothers, members of system-relevant professions had to be available beyond the usual measure, had no regeneration times, while others were suddenly released into short-time work and confronted with an emptiness in the daily routines, but perhaps also with gratifying own time. Some groups of clients also experienced something similar, familiar daily routines were no longer possible, the structuring of everyday life fell away. Social work is challenged to work for time justice on the macro level, e.g. in the division of paid and unpaid work, and at the same time to show time sensitivity on the micro and meso level, e.g. in the design of opening hours and in the careful use of users' time.

Eva Fleischer is a professor at the Department of Social Work at MCI | The Entrepreneurial School®. She studied social work, education and political science and has been active in teaching and research in social work for many years. At MCI she teaches in the Bachelor's and Master's programs of the Department of Social Work and is a member of the Ethics Committee. She is considered a recognized expert in researching the connections between social justice, social change and care/care work. She has conducted several teaching/learning projects on this topic in the master's program in social work, social policy, and social management; a particular concern of hers is making research participatory and inclusive. As part of a consortium of 14 partners, she is currently leading an FFG research project at the department that aims to enable or facilitate access to social services for disadvantaged groups of people via an app and a digital interface.

This invitation at the most important scientific conference on social work in Austria is a recognition of her many years of research activity at the Department, which has also been implemented in several teaching/learning research projects in the Master's program in Social Work, Social Policy and Social Management, among others.